As members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we have a sacred duty to God to stand as witnesses for marriage and the family as ordained of God. However, some are speaking about same-sex marriage and relationships as though these are the right choice (and even a good choice) for our loved ones. When they do this, they encourage people to abandon the straight and narrow path and their covenants for the artful guise of something temporary that will not last. For some, it may be much easier to carve out a way to appear tolerant and compassionate in the eyes of the world and, by so doing, deflect the persecution and condemnation of associates and friends. However, adopting the compassion label in order to make something spiritually destructive appear benign, spares only ourselves at the expense of those in spiritual peril.
With this happening even within our church, now more than all the generations in history, this generation must contend for the faith with true and greater Christlike love, skill and tact than ever before. Why? Because the caricatures of homosexuality, crafted by a well-organized social movement, have been extremely successful in gathering public support. Support for homosexual behavior encourages people to break sacred laws of chastity, making them believe they can obtain happiness “in doing iniquity, which thing is contrary to the nature of that righteousness.” (Helaman 13:38)
I’d like to use a favorite allegory, Lehi’s dream, to shed some light on what’s wrong with this thinking. Picture Lehi after he ate of the fruit of the tree of life. He described his feelings when he said it “filled [his] soul with exceedingly great joy.” (1 Nephi 8:12) Do you remember the effect of his experience? His heart was moved with concern for others, but did his compassion cause him to encourage others to continue wondering in darkness? Did he say, “Good for you! I’m so glad that you’ve found your own path.” No! He could not, for he knew there was only one path that led to the tree and truth and only one fruit that was “desirable above all other fruit.” Therefore, he beckoned them “with a loud voice” that they would come unto him. He beckoned, and his Christ-like compassion made him bold. He was filled with a sincere desire for others to find the straight and narrow path.
I’m concerned that some members of the church are not only softening their voices, but are actually changing the entire message of morality. I am concerned that too many who have “commenced in the path” are losing their way because they are letting go of the rod of iron. Some imagine they are on a great mission of rescue while they themselves start to wander off the path. We cannot save our family from the midst of darkness if we ourselves let go of the rod of iron and wander in forbidden paths. Lehi did not leave the tree and wander in the mists darkness for his family; instead, he stood in the light and beckoned to them with a loud voice.
Elder M. Russell Ballard taught that it is imperative that we boldly teach the doctrine of the family, and help others to enter into the path and partake of the fruit. He said that we must “help them to know it, embrace it, participate in it, and defend it.” We cannot do this if our view of the doctrine of the family has been obscured by our compassion for the philosophies of the world. To help others to know the plan, we must have a clear understanding of it ourselves. We must be willing to “earnestly contend for the faith.” (Jude 1:3) Our duty to God requires that we wield the sword of truth in the public square “for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
We should not expect to be at peace with the world if we expect to be one with Christ. Christ warned his disciples not to falter for praise of the world when he taught, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” (John 15:18) We should not expect to escape confrontation and persecution when we stand as witnesses of Christ and His plan. This doesn’t mean that we should contend for the faith in anger, causing contention with unkind words. Of course we cannot stand as witnesses of Christ unless we become like Christ, but emulating Christ will never include obscuring the truth. To become like Christ, we must hold tight to the iron rod and press forward in the straight and narrow path. When we stand in the light of the tree when we have tasted of the fruit desirable to make us happy and when our view of the plan of God is clear and unobstructed. Then we will have power to stand in the light and beckon all to come with boldness and love. Of this, Elder Dallin H. Oaks taught:
“We live in a world where more and more persons of influence are teaching and acting out a belief that there is no absolute right and wrong… The philosophy of moral relativism, which holds that each person is free to choose for him or herself what is right and wrong, is becoming the unofficial creed…” In this environment, the only way the world will view us as fully tolerant and compassionate, is if we embrace these false philosophies and affirm and support homosexual relations as a good and valued choice. … In this troubled circumstance, we who believe in God and the corollary truth of absolute right and wrong have the challenge of living in a godless and increasingly amoral world. In this circumstance, all of us—especially the rising generation—have a duty to stand up and speak out to affirm that God exists and that there are absolute truths that His commandments establish.” (“Balancing Truth and Tolerance,” Ensign, Feb 2013)
We have been held back by our Father in Heaven to come forth in this time when the whirlwinds of wickedness threaten every root. We were sent forth from the courts of our heavenly home to gather the elect from the four quarters of the earth, to carry them upon our shoulders, and to become their nursing fathers and mothers. (1 Nephi 21:23) What is required is that we stand immovable in our defense of the plan of God. Being compassionate demands that we proclaim truth. We cannot force others to choose the right path, but when we deny the existence of the one true path, we may become a stumbling block to their finding it. I repeat my earlier statement: More than all the generations that have gone before, this generation must contend for the faith with greater love, skill, tact, and tolerance than ever before while we “press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men.” (2 Nephi 31:20)
Author Stephanie Morgan is her kids’ mom first, but is also a home-school teacher, the director of a local home-school co-op, a seminary teacher, an education activist, a natural birth advocate, a writer, a wife, a sister, a daughter, and a friend. She is committed to improving our culture from the inside out. She believes the destiny of nations is forged in the home and a nation will rise no higher than the strength of its families. Her blog on religious freedom can be found here: